Hooray, my first one-shot, and first venture into Fire Emblem fanfiction.

The end kinda changes Canon, but I couldn't not give Ilyana a happy ending after all I do to her in this short piece of material. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading it more than I did writing it. The story's just a bit too sad for be to really have had fun writing, though I think I was able to convey it well.

Enough talking. Here it is.

It was almost funny how war could bring two people together, yet peace would tear them apart.

When they first met, she was nothing more than a scared girl in the middle of a battlefield she really didn't belong in. But upon seeing his courage, it inspired her to do better, and move beyond the barriers that stood in her way.

During that battle, she had trailed behind him, protecting the one who had affected her in the only way she could. And as the battle dragged on, she found herself making a promise.

"No one will get in our way." That was what she believed. Unfortunately, as they continues to fight, more and more soldiers would come out of nowhere, and the entire company nearly lost hope.

However, with a hand placed gently on her shoulder and a reassuring smile, Ilyana found the strength to continue onward.

And when things looked the worst, she still felt as though everything would be alright. And her faith in both the world, and in Ike, paid off.

Finally saved by the beast tribe of Gallia, they began to move on to the next battle. It was in this time of transit that she realized how much they had in common, especially when in respect to their appetites.

When they next had to fight, the two younger kids joined in the battle, and Ilyana found it hard to stay as close to Ike while still trying to protect his little sister as well. She had heard how her hero had lost his father shortly before they met - and she was surprised that he could have been so composed so quickly after such an event.

So she tried to take care of his sister for the next few battles, in hopes that no harm would come to her. But as she became better, she no longer needed to be cared for so much, and Ilyana returned to looking out for Ike alone - though she still threw a glance Mist's way every now and then in order to make sure she was safe. She didn't want to think about how much it would hurt him if anything happened to her.

After awhile, even she wondered why no one commented on her constant following him around, especially the other mage of the group, Soren, who continuously gave her a strange look whenever they met. It was as if he was saying 'Why are you here?' without even opening his mouth.

She couldn't blame him - he was Ike's best friend after all, and she was merely an intruder among the Greil Mercenaries. Ilyana never even knew the man who had inspired all of these people, though considering that she was only one of many new recruits, she could assume that he was as great a man as Ike - or rather, Ike took after his father.

When Ike took on a noble from Begnion for his Laguz slavery, she was by his side the whole time, fighting to help him protect his ideals. By now, more members of the group would notice that she was always near him, and certain ones would do a double-take upon seeing them together.

To her, it seemed as though it was more obvious to other people than it was to Ike himself, who though nothing of her lightning striking down anything in his way. She was kind of saddened by how he didn't notice how much she cared, but Ilyana also supposed it was for the best. In the middle of war, it wasn't the time to get unnecessarily attached to people who could be taken away the next moment. If anything ever did happen between them, he would only cause more pain for him if she were to fall in battle.

Emerging from the forest victorious, Ilyana found a strange look in Ike's eyes as he came back from his meeting with the Apostle. He had been made a Lord of Crimea, and she nearly couldn't contain her happiness for him. What had sobered her though, was that he did not seem to feel the same way.

By asking around, she gathered that Ike had never liked the nobility - though she could see no reason why. He worked for the princess of Crimea, and now also lead an army under the Apostle's name as well. It wasn't as though he had any negative experience with them, but she supposed everyone had their own opinions on things.

Either way, it didn't matter. She'd just fight for him as she always had.

As the army lead their way through the Daein front and into their homelands themselves, Ilyana found that Soren no longer looked at her in the same way that he used to. The other mage had long since seen through her feelings, and apparently thought there was some merit to them.

She was glad. If he wasn't bothered by her unrequited affections anymore, she could feel less guilty about it. He knew that, too, and started acting… dare she say it, almost friendly to her, as if he knew she was as loyal to Ike as he was.

And when she heard of how Ike defeated the Black Knight, she was amazed with a slight amount of envy towards his sister. She had wanted to be the one to share that moment with him, to have such a memory that could only be between the two of them. But there was no sense getting upset over the past, and Ilyana figured that so long as she was by his side, they'd get memories of their own.

And at long last, the war ended. Ike killed the Mad King Ashnard in a show of strength that surprised even her - especially when her magic had had no effect on the monstrous being.

But her story had no happily ever after. The moment the war ended, Ike was swept away from her, and no matter how hard she tried, it was impossible to get near such an important figure in Crimea's history.

The Hero of the Mad King's war, the man who changed the outcome of the battle, this was someone that a mere peasant girl like her could never hope to get close to. And with a heavy heart, she rejoined her group of merchants.

For a while they asked why she looked so down in such a happy time, but eventually they became used to her new attitude. Every now and then the brothers would try to cheer her up, but without Ike, time dragged by slowly and miserably.

At one time, there was something akin to Déjà vu, when she had been held in a prison, only to have someone come rescue her. Even Sothe was there, bringing back her fond memories of the war.

But even though she was fighting alongside many of her old allies, it wasn't quite the same. Zihark had brought that up one day, making a comment in passing about how she looked lost on the battlefield without Ike.

She hadn't meant to make it that obvious, but she clearly had trouble fighting without someone to protect. And so, she clung to him for a while, trying to work with the sword master the same way she once had with Ike.

But it wasn't the same, and this battle brought different kinds of memories than the last. It really hit home on how much she missed him, especially once everything was over, and she no longer had anyone to cling to, substitute Ike or not.

Once again, weeks passed, and she felt as though it wasn't worth continuing to wait in some obscure hope that they could fight alongside each other once again.

And then, they got a message from him. Instantly she cheered up, and sent a reply. No matter where he was, she would always come to his aid.

It was only until the next day that she realized that in her excitement she had forgotten to tell Muston about his call. Practically begging him not to tell Ike about it, they finally got on their way to Begnion.

"Nice to see you again, Ilyana. Still eating everything in sight?" It wasn't much of a greeting, but she blamed that on both her intense hunger and the fact that she was nearly drooling at the thought of that girl giving her things to eat.

Unable to fully reply in her stunned state, she made a small attempt at a response - and due to her current overwhelming hunger, it of course included food. "You haven't changed a bit." She would agree with that. She hadn't changed at all in the past… how long was it? She hadn't kept track, instead wallowing in her misery.

The same could not be said for him, however. Not only did he look more grown up and responsible, but the war seemed to had hardened his personality a bit, as he didn't smile as much as he used to.

Ilyana didn't care. He was still Ike, the man she had always looked up to a cared for, and so she would continue to be by his side.

As she followed him away from the tent (despite Heather telling her not to move) he glanced back at her for a quick moment before returning to his normal walking state. She could have sworn she saw a smile on his face, however, and just under his breath she could hear him make a small remark. "No, not one bit."

She blushed and looked downwards. Had he known she was always behind him? It hadn't seemed that way, but now it would all make sense. When she needed a bit more practice, she'd find more enemies escaping his notice for her to hit. When she was feeling tired, less of the Daein soldiers would be around.

All this time, he had known. Ever since the beginning, he had been looking out for her as she tried to look out for him. It was almost too much to take in, and she tried to put it out of her mind for now - if she were to trip on something in her distracted state, it'd only make her look bad in front of her hero.

Things finally returned to the way they had been - the way, Ilyana felt, they should be. But this time it was even more pleasurable. Every now and then he would congratulate her on how good of a job she did in battle, or as her if she was feeling alright on days when she didn't get enough to eat. Small things, but the meant the world to her. They were signs that showed he cared.

Ilyana wanted this to last forever. Though a selfish thought, as the war took a toll on the entire continent, she didn't really care. As long as she could fight alongside him, she would be content. That was all she wanted in life.

But nothing was ever in her favor. The goddess Ashera suddenly awoke and turned everyone to stone, and according to Yune, this was because she did not want the war to continue.

And when she was the first one picked to go on Ike's team to stop her, she couldn't have been happier. Especially when they learned that not everyone had been frozen, and that there were still enemies to fight. This was all that kept her going in those times.

The truth was, Ilyana had become a being of war. It was her only link to the one she loved, and thus, she was only happy when there was someone they could fight together. Ashera didn't want that, and so she was the first on her list.

She thought that when Ashera was defeated, things could go back to the way they had been. She was wrong. Everything was over - the war had, indeed, come to an end. And once again, she left with the merchants, feeling as though there was nothing left for her.

Two weeks later, a letter arrived.

A request to join the Greil Mercenaries.